How to pray is a question that many people, especially those new to or curious about the Christian faith, do not know how to answer. Pray For US – Pray for the United States does not intend this to be an exhaustive article on how to pray to God. There have been many books written on the subject, some of which are quite lengthy and which were written by men much more qualified on the subject than we are. But this article will provide some simple guidelines on how to pray to God.
Jesus Christ actually gives us instructions on this topic in Matthew 6:9-13:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
See also Luke 11:1-4. This passage, sometimes referred to as the Lord’s Prayer, is one of the most well-known in Scripture. But familiarity does not always translate into application. Read it again. Jesus tells us how to pray!
Here are some of the principles you can apply in your daily prayer life:
1. Begin your prayers by acknowledging that God is your heavenly Father. Acknowledge that His very NAME is holy as you approach His throne in prayer.
2. Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. God does not have one will for heaven and a separate one for earth! His will for earth and for you is outlined in the Bible.
3. Pray for God to provide your daily sustenance (a roof over your head, food to eat, water to drink). God is not a piggy bank and does not grant requests outside of his will. He’s not going to grant you a shiny new Ferrari or a million dollars just because you pray for it.
4. Ask God to forgive your sins and to give you the power to forgive those who have sinned against you. (Jesus frequently uses the word “debt” to describe “sin” when He is speaking. That’s something to give serious consideration to in modern-day America.)
5. Pray that God will protect you from the things of this world that would do you harm. What do you need protection from? Do you live in a dangerous neighborhood? Do you struggle with temptations from food that lead to overeating? Are you sick and do you need to offer a prayer for healing?
6. Close in prayer by acknowledging God’s greatness. The kingdom, the power and the glory are His and His alone – and He alone is worthy of our worship.
7. Acknowledge that you are praying to God THROUGH His Son. Jesus Christ is the only intermediary between God and man, and therefore we must approach God in prayer through Jesus. (For example, close your prayer with, “In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!”)
One final note – and this is a harsh truth of Scripture for some to grasp: God does not hear the prayers of the wicked. For examples of this, see Psalm 66:18, Isaiah 1:14-15 and Ezekiel 8:18. Indeed, God mocks the wicked when calamity strikes them and they suddenly begin praying to Him to save them from their circumstances (Proverbs 1:24-26).
As an example, Senator Dianne Feinstein opened a recent press conference in prayer, asking God to bless her efforts to pass a gun confiscation bill in Congress. Christians have nothing to fear in this instance, because God fully supports the principle of defending self and others from violence. He does not hear such prayers because they are a direct violation of His will.
God only hears the prayers of Christians and those who are truly repenting of their sin to become a Christian. He tells us explicitly that He will not hear the prayers of the unrighteous.